This appliance can replace 22 kitchen gadgets—here's how
Is the Thermomix TM6 worth $1,500?
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Though cooking as a hobby sparks joy, home cooks are becoming increasingly tired of it. As a newlywed couple who both opted to work remotely full-time, my husband and I have resorted to rock-paper-scissors to decide who cooks dinner.
Let’s face it—it’s not every day that you want the responsibility of coming up with a nutritionally balanced menu, chopping up the vegetables and handling the meat or fish, and then carefully monitoring the food so it’s not under- or over-cooked. But what if there were kitchen appliances that can do all that cooking for you?
Enter: the Thermomix TM6, the catch-all food processor with a heating element that’s multipurpose enough to replace 22 kitchen appliances. And when paired with its Cookidoo app, it can even help with grocery shopping.
At $1,499, these ergonomic machines are not cheap, but they’re widely popular in high-end restaurants as they’re sometimes as efficient as a line cook. If you’ve watched Australian “MasterChef”, you’ll probably recognize the machine.
To see how the Thermomix TM6 works, we tried most of its functions in our testing. We made chocolate chip cookies, hummus, pita bread dough, a three-course steamed chicken with rice dinner, sous vide pork chops with ginger glaze, watermelon cocktails, quinoa rice, almond butter, stews, and casseroles in this cooker. Here’s how it went.
What is a Thermomix TM6?
The Thermomix TM6 model consists of a base with a touchscreen display, a large stainless steel mixing bowl with lid, a simmering basket, a butterfly whisk, a measuring cup, a Varoma set (a tray, a deep dish, and a lid), a spatula, and a splash guard.
To get the cooker running, you need to insert the mixing bowl onto the base, put the lid on, and give commands (speed setting and time) from the touchscreen. A pair of “robot arms” will be deployed automatically to wrap around the lid to securely keep the bowl in place before cooking starts.
Essentially, the core function of TM6 is to stir, blend, and heat at the programmed temperature, speed, and time. With the included attachments, it can slow cook, emulsify, steam, and even grind cuts of meat.
The butterfly whisk attachment makes it easy to whip cream and prepare sauces while the simmering basket makes it possible to cook rice and sous vide. As the mixing bowl lid has a hole in the middle for users to monitor and add ingredients while cooking, the measuring cup doubles as a hatch that can snugly fit in the middle hole and seal off completely. The Varoma set can be attached on top of the mixing bowl lid for steaming vegetables, fish, and dumplings.
What is the Cookidoo app?
Thermomix TM6 is ahead in the automatic cooking game thanks to its app-enabled guided cooking program called Cookidoo, which has more than 4,000 recipes developed by chefs from around the world (even celebrity chefs like Danny Bowien). For $39 a year, Thermomix owners have access to all the tutorials.
During testing, I was able to sync my Cookidoo account to my phone and my Thermomix, which made it convenient for me to browse recipes on my phone, select the recipe and send the shoppable grocery list to my local grocer for delivery (fulfilled by Instacart and Amazon Fresh), and go to my Thermomix to cook the recipe I picked. There are plenty of Keto, Paleo, and other diets included in the list of recipes.
What we like
It’s safe and easy to use
We like that the Thermomix is a new option for many people who want to create delicious homemade meals from scratch but lack the skill set, time, and numerous pieces of equipment to make it happen. With guided cooking, we found ourselves making gourmet dishes, dips, nut milk, and cocktails, all without doing any intense work except for clicking “Next” on the screen.
The touchscreen is responsive and easy to navigate. If you’re cooking without the guided recipes, you can select a function (Fermentation, Slow Cook, Kettle, Blend, Sous Vide, Steam, Rice Cooker, Turbo, Scale, Dough, Pre-Clean) from the main menu and set the time, speed, and temperature.
What’s more, the safety features are great for families with young children. As the blades in the mixing bowl are exceptionally sharp, we were worried about potential safety issues if the machine is left unattended while it’s running. Though we still wouldn’t recommend leaving the Thermomix entirely unattended around kids, we soon realized there’s little to worry about: It won’t turn on unless both the lid and “robotic arms” are in place.
The blender function is impressive
The most impressive feature is its ability to blend quickly and finely. When we made the ginger garlic glaze for the pork chops, we noticed that it only took five seconds to super-finely process the garlic cloves and ginger into a ginger garlic sauce. After we added other ingredients to thicken the sauce, it amazed us by how delicate and tasty the glaze turned out to be (again, in seconds).
It’s a great tool for bread-making
We don’t know whether the built-in scale can convince us to switch away from a trusted stand mixer, but it surely makes mixing dough feel like a breeze. With the built-in heat sensor, it can control the temperature of the dough, making gluten development more efficient when baking bread. When it made the dough for baking pita bread, the dough turned out smooth and shiny in under five minutes of kneading, which is faster than a stand mixer.
It saves counter space
Another advantage is that the Thermomix can save counter space. Though we won’t call it small—it’s about the size of a stand mixer—we also don’t think it’s bulky. Plus, the Thermomix definitely takes up less space than all the other appliances it can replace combined.
What we don’t like
The scale could be better
Though we love how fast the TM6 chops and blends, we didn’t enjoy using the built-in scale. First, the scale defaults to imperial units, which people in the U.S., who are used to measuring dry ingredients by the cup rather than by the ounce, may find inconvenient.
I switched to metric units in Settings, but the machine kept on going back to imperial every time I used a new recipe. Compared to other kitchen scales I’ve tested, this built-in scale is neither sensitive enough to measure ingredients nor quick enough to give readings.
Alerts are excessive
The cooker sends an alert when a task has been completed. Unlike other appliances in my house that alert me once, this cooker plays a musical tone that won’t shut off on its own, which soon becomes nightmarish. One day the alert went off while I was outside doing yard work and my husband was in a Zoom meeting.
Pre-Clean mode doesn’t clean efficiently
There’s a self-cleaning mode that uses the fast-spinning blades and heat to rinse the interior of the bowl, which is useful in some instances. I find it useless when it comes to cleaning nut butter and hummus, or any particularly sticky substance (when I tried the self-cleaning mode on my Vitamix, the result was better). The area around the blades is the most difficult to clean and, unsurprisingly, I cut my finger trying to reach under the blades to get the residual hummus out. You can take the blades out from the bottom of the mixing bowl, but the process is complicated.
It won’t replace our standalone rice cooker
We didn’t enjoy cooking rice with the rice cooker function. Unlike our best rice cooker, it’s programmed to cook rice at the same speed, regardless of the type.
Plus there’s leaking. When we set it to cook two cups of rice, the water vapor burst uncontrollably out of the hole on the lid, and soon we found our entire countertop drenched with water. As a person who uses her rice cooker religiously, I was disappointed in how the Thermomix cooks rice. Not only was the cooking experience stressful (as I had to watch the steam), but the rice was also soggy and overcooked.
We had similar water problems when steaming food in the Varoma baskets, which we think may be a design flaw. We’re hoping that future models can come up with a solution that prevents the condensed water from dripping down the outside of the machine.
Is a Thermomix TM6 worth the investment?
If you’re a busy parent wearing way too many hats because of COVID, then you may benefit from owning a Thermomix. Not only does it mix, shred, chop, blend, purée, and cook most dishes at the touch of a button, but also it does them all without asking you to monitor the cooking process.
Or, if you’ve just moved to a new apartment and are looking for kitchen appliances, you may consider the Thermomix as a catch-all option, as opposed to shopping for a stand mixer, a blender, and pots and pans for your new cooking space. The cost of above appliances add up to about the same as a Thermomix and you may end up saving some precious countertop space.
The Thermomix has changed the game for customers who want to lighten their cooking duties —and it has, unsurprisingly, drawn competition from other home appliance makers. For a lower price, All-Clad has an all-in-one food processor with a heating element for simmering, steaming, chopping, and blending. It may not include as many functions as the Thermomix does, but it surely can help in the kitchen. While Thermomix’s all-in-one cooking assistant may be a pricier option, Thermomix does offer a reasonable financing plan that allows you to pay monthly.
However, if you tend to specialize in one method of cooking, then you may want to prioritize investing in a more specialized, less multi-functional kitchen gadget—for example, if you like to bake but don’t use a slow cooker often, then you’ll probably benefit more from a stand mixer than a Thermomix.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.